Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune condition of the thyroid gland, resulting in an over production of thyroxine
Causes of Grave's disease
The cause of the problem is the production of abnormal antibodies by the Immune system. These antibodies act in a similar way to TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), mimicking its function and causing the gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroxine.
Exophthalmos in Grave's disease
At the same time, the Immune system produces autoantibodies which attack the fatty, fibrous tissue lying behind the eyeballs, causing inflammation and swelling.
This leads to protrusion of the eyeballs - a feature known as exophthalmos (ex.of.thal.mos). This protrusion of the eyeballs is a characteristic sign of Graves’ disease. Some people have the misconception that exophthalmos is a general indication of overactivity in the thyroid gland. It however, does not occur with other thyroid problems. It is incorrect to assume that all those who have an overactive thyroid will have exophthalmos.
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